[Latin, By roots or stocks; by representation.] A term used to denote a method used in dividing the estate of a person. A person who takes per stirpes,
sometimes called by right of representation, does not inherit in an individual capacity but as a member of a group.
In a per stirpes distribution, a group represents a deceased ancestor. The group takes the proportional share to which the deceased ancestor would have been entitled if still living.
For example, a man died intestate; his wife predeceased him. He had four children, three of whom are still living at the time of his death. The deceased child had three children, all still living. These three grandchildren will share equally in one-fourth of their grandfather's estate, the share the deceased parent would have taken if still alive. The three living children will also each receive one-fourth of the estate.
Per stirpes differs from per capita, in which an equal share is given to each of a number of persons who all stand in equal degree of relationship to the deceased.